Squashing squabbles starts with the words that come out of your mouth.
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Romans 12:14
Our words are the hardest things to control when we face frustrations. What is your first response when:
- Your child’s coach keeps your son or daughter on the bench longer than you want?
- A neighbor makes a mess in your yard?
- Your co-worker makes a mistake that makes you look bad?
Do you find yourself bashing the coach to a friend for his questionable decisions? Gossiping about the neighbor who was inconsiderate? Telling other co-workers about the person who messed things up for you?
Gossiping and complaining about others are often our first responders to difficult situations. But what if you tried a new tactic?
What if you stopped gossiping and started bragging about people behind their backs instead?
Can you imagine if every parent on your child’s team, every co-worker, or every neighbor did this? What would happen if you chose not to share all your negative thoughts and instead looked for something positive to say?
It might look like this:
Instead of complaining about the coach, you point out what he did right.
Instead of gossiping about the neighbor, you share something good they did for you.
Instead of talking down your guilty co-worker to others in the office, you praise them for a success or a great idea.
I honestly believe that taking this approach–bragging about others instead of gossiping–would avoid a lot of conflicts. It could do away with the back-stabbing and the feuds and the inner-office squabbles. This does not mean that you ignore the problem, it merely means that if there is a problem that needs to be addressed, you take it to the source, not to everyone else around you.
As you talk with your kids, look for opportunities to model this. My mother used to say it this way: If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all. Show your kids that words should not be weapons but nourishment.
A movement starts with only one person. Positivity and encouragement are contagious. Try more bragging and less gossiping this week and see what happens.